CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico – The mayor of Guadalupe Distrito Bravos, a city in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua, was killed by gunmen, prosecutors said.
Manuel Lara Rodriguez was killed Saturday afternoon as he was leaving a house in Santa Teresa, a neighborhood in the northern section of Guadalupe Distrito Bravos, Chihuahua state Attorney General’s Office spokesmen said.
The 48-year-old mayor had received death threats earlier this year and sought refuge in the border city of Ciudad Juarez a month ago.
Guadalupe Distrito Bravos is in the Juarez Valley about 45 minutes from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico’s murder capital.
The border state of Chihuahua is Mexico’s most dangerous state.
The Sinaloa drug cartel, led by Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman, has been battling Vicente Carrillo Fuentes’s Juarez cartel for control of smuggling routes in the border state.
The two cartels have been fighting for control of drug trafficking in Chihuahua’s biggest city, Ciudad Juarez.
Press reports say the Sinaloa organization, Mexico’s oldest and largest drug cartel, has effectively taken control of Juarez, located just across the border from El Paso, Texas.
Ciudad Juarez, where more than 5,000 people have been murdered since 2008, has been plagued by drug-related violence for years.
The murder rate took off in the border city of 1.5 million people in 2007, when 310 people were killed, then it more than tripled to 1,607 in 2008, according to state AG’s office figures, with the number of killings climbing to 2,635 last year.
The death toll for this year currently stands at more than 1,100.
Ciudad Juarez, with 191 homicides per 100,000 residents, was the most violent city in the world in 2009, registering a higher murder rate than San Pedro Sula, San Salvador, Caracas and Guatemala, two Mexican non-governmental organizations said in a report released earlier this year.